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Health and the urban environment: revolutions revisited

Gordon McGranahan

Briefing, 2 pages

From cholera pandemics to smog episodes, urban development driven by narrow economic interests has shown itself to be a serious threat to human health and wellbeing. Past revolutions in sanitation and pollution control demonstrate that social movements and governance reforms can transform an urban health penalty into a health advantage. But many environmental problems have been displaced over time and space, and never truly resolved. Health concerns need once again to drive an environmental agenda – but this time it must be sustainable over the long haul, and globally equitable. With the global economic crisis raising the ante, what’s needed is no less than a revolution in environmental justice that puts health, not economics, at the core of its values.

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